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The Weekend Q&A: who are you rooting for in the Grey Cup?

By Shruti Shekar      
NDP MP Jenny Kwan is without a team to root for this weekend, as her province's crew, the B.C. Lions, is out of the running.
The Hill Times photograph by Shruti Shekar

PARLIAMENT HILL—The House was more boisterous than normal in the days leading up to the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup championship game, which will be hosted in Ottawa this Sunday, Nov. 26.

The Calgary Stampeders, seven-time Grey Cup champions (the most recent in 2014) will face off against the Toronto Argonauts, who have won the cup 16 times, most recently in 2012.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel is cheering on her hometown Calgary Stampeders this weekend. The Hill Times photograph by Shruti Shekar

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, Alta.) used her Nov. 22 member’s statement before QP to pay tribute to her hometown Calgary Stampeders with a poem.

“One team will take home the Grey Cup. It is very apparent that the Calgary Stampeders is the team that is on its way up.

“The cup is contested between the east and west winners of the CFL, but this year I think it is clear which team is truly the best.

“The Stamps know that this weekend they can win it all.

“Unlike the federal deficit, the Argos are sure to fall,” Ms. Rempel said, causing her colleague, Conservative MP Erin O’Toole (Durham, Ont.), to heckle. His riding is close to Toronto.

“I love my friend @MichelleRempel but she had the misfortune of speaking next to 2 @TorontoArgos fans who can heckle into her live microphone,” Mr. O’Toole tweeted that day.

The Argos’ fortunes changed when general manager Jim Popp and head coach Marc Trestman took over about nine months ago after an abysmal 2016 season.

In contrast, the Stampeders are back for Round 2 after a sad defeat at last year’s Grey Cup, when the Ottawa Redblacks beat them with a final score of 39 to 33.

The Hill Times went to the Hill on Nov. 23 to survey MPs about which team they’re rooting for.

International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who represents a Quebec riding, said he was going to cheer for the Argos. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Rushing to the next appointment, or maybe to catch a flight, International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne laughed and asked: “Where do you want me to make friends?” He then said he was siding with the Argos.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott is set to be back in her riding, which is near Toronto, cheering on the Argos. The Hill Times file photograph

He added that he wasn’t going to be watching the game because he “may be on a plane somewhere.”

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott (Markham-Stouffville, Ont.) laughed and gave a stern look before saying: “Well, I’m from Stouffville, which is very close to Toronto, so you can figure out who I’m rooting for.”

She added she wasn’t sure what her plans were yet to watch the game, but said: “I’ll be with my family hanging out somewhere.”

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, B.C.) said his team, the B.C. Lions, didn’t make the cut.

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor’s team, the B.C. Lions, didn’t make the cut, so he’s ‘grudgingly’ cheering on the Stampeders in next-door Alberta. The Hill Times photograph by Shruti Shekar

“I think I’d have to grudgingly have to give my support to my Alberta neighbours and go for Calgary,” Mr. MacGregor said.

He noted that he didn’t have a ticket for the game, but was going to be in Ottawa for a mini-caucus retreat with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (Mr. Singh is not an MP, and has been travelling around the country since winning the party leadership last month).

NDP MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, B.C.), also a B.C. Lions fan, was disappointed her team didn’t make it to the finals.

“I must say I am not watching the Grey Cup,” Ms. Kwan said. “I mean [the B.C. Lions] used to be in the running, but we are not at the moment, so I don’t have anyone I’m rooting for.”

With the House scheduled to sit through to Dec. 15, she said she’d be going home this weekend to spend some time with her kids.

sshekar@hilltimes.com

@shruti_shekar

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